Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/648/10667
Defend university access for all!
The official figures of how many young people were denied a university place this year have finally been announced. Disgracefully, 209,000 were left disappointed.
Less than 70% of students desperate to learn and make the most of their skills were given the chance to do so because of the government's cap on places.
Unsurprisingly, this was more than 10% higher at independent and grammar schools. But instead of trying to reduce this gap and make sure students from poorer backgrounds have the same opportunities as the rest, the Con-Dems are attacking that right from every angle.
£9,000 fees will mean the prospect of finishing university with an unheard of amount of debt for many young people. And now the few schemes designed to encourage working class students into university are under attack. The £100 million a year funding for the largest of these, Aimhigher, looks set to be axed from July next year.
I went to school in Bethnal Green, east London, one of the poorest areas in the country.
Most of my friends came from families where neither parent had been to university and a lot of people received free school meals. Often even people who enjoyed school and did the best in exams hadn't really considered university.
Our school took part in the Aimhigher scheme and we went on several visits to universities - including a couple of times to Sussex University where three of us ended up going.
We saw what lectures might be like and met students who were already there. I think a lot of people started thinking about it as a real option after that. Aimhigher also came to our school and organised mentoring and revision sessions to help people meet the grades they needed.
It wasn't perfect but most of my friends did go to university in the end and I think Aimhigher played a part in that.
This government doesn't care about working class young people reaching their potential. £100 million is nothing compared to the deficit - it's a conscious decision to put us in our place. But the protests over the last two weeks have shown that we won't put up with it.
In The Socialist 23 November 2010:
Youth Fight for Education
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis